Living Catholicism: The Saints and Us

As Catholics, we know that death is not the end. We may even be so bold as to say that it is just the beginning. Every November, we remember those who have achieved what we hope and are hopefully working toward… eternity with God! On Nov. 1, we celebrate All Saints Day and, “We remember in a special way that sanctity is accessible to everyone in their various jobs and situations, and that to help us reach this goal we ought to put into practice the dogma of the communion of saints. The church invites us to raise our hearts and minds to the immense multitude of men and women from all walks of life who followed Christ here on earth and are already enjoying his presence in heaven.” (In Conversation with God; Nov. 1)

It has been proven through the ages that anyone who wants to become a saint can be one if they are faithful to what God has revealed to us through the church and the Scriptures. Reading the lives of the saints can be a great inspiration. St. Teresa of Avila was inspired by reading about saints who lived before her, and her story was a great inspiration for St. Edith Stein.

One of the proofs of the authenticity of the Catholic Church is the great number of saints, who through the ages, have been heroic witnesses of their love for God and how God in turn worked indisputable miracles through them. These saints who have lived in every age believed the same truths that the church teaches today and because of their witness countless thousands have joined the church. It is for this reason that churches are named after saints and contain statues of the saints that have a special significance for the faith community. Throughout the world, there are hundreds of towns and cities name after saints because of their importance in the life of the church.

Of course, our great city of San Antonio was named after St. Anthony because it was founded on his feast day. If you take a river boat ride on the San Antonio River, the boat operator will point out a statue of St. Anthony and the place where the first Mass was celebrated.

One of the proven ways to deepen our Catholic faith is by reading the lives of the saints and to discover how God worked in the lives of those who loved him in a heroic way. The saints want to help us to draw close to Jesus Christ so that we also can join their company. Never hesitate to ask the saints to pray for you and your family.

Remember, also, it is very important that we pray for those who have died. We hope in their eternal rest with the saints and angels, but we can never be sure this side of heaven. Souls in purgatory are counting on us as they can no longer pray for themselves.

If a beloved soul you are praying for has gone on to heaven, your prayer will be offered to another deserving soul; it is never wasted.

The two most important things we can do for souls in purgatory, in addition to our daily prayers, is to have Masses said for them and to gain a plenary indulgence for them, which is the remission of all temporal punishment do to sins that have been confessed and forgiven.

DEACON TOM FOX is a co-director of the Pilgrim Center of Hope. Living Catholicism is a regular column of this Catholic evangelization apostolate dedicated to helping persons deepen their relationship with Christ. This column was published November 2016.

Fair use; image copyright National Gallery of Art, London. All rights reserved.

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